Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP): Assessing the application against selection criteria

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Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP): Assessing the application against selection criteria

IRCC started accepting permanent residence applications under the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) on March 6, 2022.

Applicants should be assessed against the pass and fail selection criteria below, based on the information and documents provided in the application. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be approved.

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Confirmation of provincial endorsement

An endorsement certificate is issued by an Atlantic province to a candidate they support for permanent residency under the AIP based on

  • a genuine job offer that
    • is made by a designated employer
    • represents a real labour market need
    • is not fraudulent
  • a settlement plan that responds to the settlement needs of the principal applicant and their accompanying family members as identified by an approved settlement service provider organization

Note: Applicants should submit a copy of the endorsement certificate with their permanent residence application.

Part of the completeness check includes verifying that the applicant applying for permanent residence under the AIP is listed on the encrypted monthly endorsement spreadsheet that the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) in Sydney receives electronically from the provinces.

The provincial endorsement certificate is considered valid as long as the applicant submits a complete application for permanent residence on or before the expiry date of the endorsement and the province doesn’t revoke the endorsement certificate during the processing of the AIP permanent residence application. All endorsements are valid for 12 months after the date of issuance. While the AIP permanent residence application is in processing, the endorsement certificate can expire. Endorsement extensions are not permitted under the AIP.

When a final decision is made on the application, the endorsement certificate can be expired, but it cannot have been revoked by the province. If the province revokes the endorsement certificate, the processing officer must refuse the application as the application no longer meets the AIP criteria.

Note: IRCC is responsible for assessing the selection criteria and determining if the applicant meets all the requirements of the program, and has final selection authority. Officers should not presume that an applicant meets all the requirements of the program based on the endorsement certificate.

Education

The applicant must have either

  • a Canadian 1-year post-secondary educational credential or higher if they have a job offer at the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0 or A skill level, or, if they studied outside Canada, an educational credential assessment (ECA) to confirm that their studies are equal to or higher than a Canadian 1-year post-secondary credential
  • a Canadian high school diploma if they have a job offer at the NOC B or C skill level, or, if they studied outside Canada, an ECA to confirm that their studies are equal to or higher than a Canadian high school diploma

The ECA report must be less than 5 years old on the date we receive their application.

Note:

  • If the applicant did not complete their studies in Canada, they will need an ECA to show that their studies are equal to a Canadian secondary or post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.
  • The assessment outcome stated in the ECA report is conclusive evidence that an applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials are equivalent to at least a completed Canadian secondary school educational credential.
  • Equivalency assessments will include an assessment by the designated organization of the authenticity of the applicant’s completed foreign educational credentials. This assessment provided by the designated organization is not conclusive evidence of the authenticity of the foreign educational credentials. If an officer has concerns about the authenticity of an applicant’s foreign educational credentials, they must communicate these concerns to the applicant, afford them an opportunity to respond to those concerns and provide additional information or documentation.

Eligible educational credentials for international graduates

Only certain educational credentials are eligible for international graduates. An educational credential is not eligible if the credentials were obtained in a study or training program where

  • the study of English or French as a second language was at least half of the program
  • distance learning was at least half of the program or
  • a scholarship or fellowship stipulated that the recipient return to their home country to apply the knowledge and skills gained

Note: The educational credential must have been obtained within 24 months of the date on the application for permanent residence.

Official language proficiency

The applicant must provide either

  • a language test approved by IRCC that shows the applicant meets the minimum language level of 5 in the Canadian Language Benchmarks in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas for a job offer at the NOC skill type 0 or skill level A or B or
  • a language test approved by IRCC that shows the applicant meets the minimum language level of 4 in the Canadian Language Benchmark in English or the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens in French for each of the 4 language skill areas for a job offer at the NOC C skill level

Note: The test results must be less than 2 years old on the date of application.

Qualifying work experience

Candidates who want to apply under AIP must have, within the last 5 years, accumulated at least 1 year of full-time (or part-time equivalent, meaning at least 1,560 hours) work experience at one of the following:

  • NOC skill type 0 (management jobs such as restaurant managers, mine managers)
  • NOC skill level A (professional jobs that usually need a degree from a university, such as doctors, dentists, architects)
  • NOC skill level B (technical jobs and skilled trades such as chefs, electricians, plumbers)
  • NOC skill level C (intermediate jobs that usually call for high school or job-specific training, such as industrial butchers, long-haul truck drivers, food and beverage servers)

For more information, see National Occupational Classifications.

Candidates must have obtained qualifying work experience by

  • having performed the actions in the description of the NOC
  • having performed most of the main duties of the NOC
  • having gained their work experience from paid work (volunteer work and unpaid internships do not count)
  • not being self-employed
  • having gained work experience in Canada, overseas or both
    • If they gained work experience in Canada, they must have been legally authorized to work in Canada as a temporary resident.
  • having worked at least 1,560 hours
    • This is the number of hours they would have worked in 1 year if they were working 30 hours per week.

Note: Applicants do not have to be employed at the time they apply.

To calculate the hours, the processing officer should

  • count hours worked in part-time and full-time jobs
  • count only paid hours of work (volunteering and unpaid internships don’t count)
  • count hours worked inside or outside Canada
    • For work in Canada, the applicant must have been legally authorized to work in Canada as a temporary resident.
  • count hours that were accumulated over a period of at least 12 months
  • count work experience acquired while studying, as long as the work hours don’t exceed what was authorized
  • Do not count hours when the candidate was self-employed

Note: Full-time work experience means working at least 30 paid hours per week. Candidates can count part-time work toward the work experience requirement as long as they have gained the equivalent amount of experience as someone who worked full-time for at least 1 year (1,560 hours).

Work experience does not need to be continuous to qualify and can be accumulated within the last 5 years. The period of 12 months of required employment cannot include any extended breaks in employment, periods of unemployment, prolonged sick leave or parental leave. However, a reasonable period of vacation time will be counted toward meeting the work experience requirement (for example, a 2-week period of paid vacation leave within a given 52-week period in which the applicant was engaged in qualifying work).

Qualifying international graduates are exempt from work experience requirements

An applicant does not need to meet the work experience requirements if they are an international graduate who

  • has at least a 2-year degree, diploma, certificate, or trade or apprenticeship credential from a recognized post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada, and was a full-time student for the entire duration of their studies
  • lived in either New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador or Prince Edward Island for at least 16 months within the last 2 years before getting their credential
  • had valid temporary resident status throughout their stay in Canada
  • had the visa or permit they needed to work, study or get training while they were in Canada

Job offer

The job offer must meet all of these requirements:

  • The job offer must be from a designated employer in 1 of the 4 Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • The job offer must be full time, meaning the applicant will work at least 30 paid hours per week
  • The job offer must be non-seasonal. In general, this means that the applicant will have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the year
  • For NOC 0, A or B skill type or level job offers, the employer must be offering the applicant a job that will last at least 1 year (1 year from the time the applicant becomes a permanent resident)
  • For NOC C level job offers, the employer must be offering the applicant permanent employment, that is, there is no set end date
  • The job offer cannot come from a company where the applicant or their spouse is a majority owner
  • The employer must not be referred to in any of subparagraphs 200(3)(h)(i) to (iii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
  • The job offer must be at the same skill type or level as, or higher than, the work experience that the applicant qualified for (refer to the table below), unless they are a qualifying international graduate under the program
  • For certain health care sector occupations, the applicant doesn’t need to have a job offer at the same skill level as, or higher than, the qualifying work experience
    • Work experience in NOC 3233 (practical nurses) and NOC 3012 (registered nurses) can be used as qualifying work experience if the applicant has a job offer in NOC 3413 (nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates) or NOC 4412 (home health care workers)

NOC level job offer and qualifying work experience requirement

NOC level job offer Work experience requirement
NOC 0 NOC 0, A, B, C
NOC A NOC A, B, C
NOC B NOC B, C
NOC C NOC C

The applicant’s employer must complete an Offer of Employment to a Foreign National [IMM 0157] (PDF, 317 KB) and send the applicant a copy. The applicant must read and sign the declaration at the bottom of the copy and submit it with their application.

Note: If the job offer is permanent, the applicant’s employer must enter “permanent” as the expected duration of employment in box 22 on the Offer of Employment to a Foreign National form [IMM 0157].

Processing officers must assess the following:

  • that the applicant can perform the work sought, and is likely to accept and carry out the job duties

When assessing this, the officer can consider

  • that the province has assessed the offer and determined that it is genuine as per the federal–provincial agreement
  • that the applicant’s combined work experience from multiple jobs has reached the 12 months of required experience
  • that the employer is satisfied the applicant can perform the higher-level occupation
  • that the employer has worked with a settlement service provider organization to develop a settlement plan for the employee and their family
  • that during their work experience at the lower occupation, the applicant may have performed some of the duties of the higher occupation

Employment requirements

Applicants must demonstrate they meet the relevant employment requirements of the job they are being offered. Relevant employment requirements may include education, training or other qualifications listed in the NOC description, with the exception of Canadian licensing requirements in the case of regulated occupations.

Settlement funds

If you are already working in Canada and authorized to work, you don’t need to show proof of funds.

If an applicant is not already working in Canada with a valid work permit, they must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available for settlement in Canada at the time of application and when the application is finalized. The funds must be all of the following:

  • available and transferable
  • unencumbered by debts or other obligations
  • sufficient to support the initial establishment in Canada

Sufficient funds are determined according to the applicant’s family size (including both accompanying and non-accompanying dependants), using 12.5% of the current low income cut-off (LICO) for urban areas with populations of 500,000 or more.

If the applicant is unable to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet the requirements, officers should refuse the application.